Sunday, July 20, 2008

Road Trippin'

Tim & I are off on an adventure. We left for Lake Mead with Mom, Dad, Uncle Chris, Aunt Sally, Doo-wah (Katie), and the Grittens for a few days in the stormy Arizona heat. I say stormy because we had thundershowers which rained on us on the second night, and low gray clouds that hung about intermittently. The storms kept temps cool (90s) and the water FLAT! We returned home from that lake and unpacked, just to re-pack for a three week road trip.
This trip was difficult to pack for considering that we have varied needs throughout the whole trip. We need car camping equipment including firewood and a stove and chairs. Then we need backpacking equipment for our hike on Mt. Shasta. Finally, we will be in some downtown areas in Portland and want to dress up if need be, so we're packing some town clothes too. We're both pretty laid back in our style, if we even have one. We tend to think there are FAR better things in life than being concerned with what we're wearing. We're like the lilies of the field in that sense I guess, though we do far more worrying about other things... So, we put everything in the car, packed the Playmate with cheese, grapes, yogurt, put my bike on the bike rack and drove for Northern California.
Mom gave us the Focus on the Family theatrical reading of C.S. Lewis' Narnia Chronicles. Since Tim has been reading through them, he is on Horse and his Boy. But since I only read Prince Caspian after the movie came out, he was gracious to listen to Voyage of the Dawn Treader with me. It made the car ride go much faster! We pretty much just drove straight up the 5 and passed through the hills where we stopped at the Val Verde Museum. It is a visitors center that is huge and very well done; it details the life of water in California- it's passage from the Sierras to the central valley and all the pump stations and down the aqueducts and to our homes. Pretty awesome the way it works to create energy for us, and how we reserve it in places like Pyramid Lake, which is where the lavish center is located. (Seriously, Tim and I had never seen a visitors museum so well done and so massive!) We drove on through San Joaquin valley and finally crashed out in Red Bluff to sleep. In the morning, we were back on the road to see Castle Crags Recreation Area and hike around to stretch our legs. We stopped at the Castle Crags camp and proceeded to a trailhead. We got a good view of the Crags, which are granite pinnacles in the sky, and we did a little 2 mile trail run to Root Creek. We splashed some crystal cool water on our faces and necks and ran back to do a few yoga stretches at our car. We headed back on the freeway making two detours at a motel area where you can book a caboose for your family vacation. The whole campsite had a great view of Castle Crags and every "room" is a different train caboose. We love finding silly little areas like this when we travel- and there are more than you would imagine out there. Then we went to Shasta Caverns, but were unwilling to pay $40, just to see some caves, we decided our lava tubes in Hawaii could help us last until we go to Mitchell Caverns or Carlsbad Caverns on some other road trip. We traveled on, finally reaching our destination: Mt. Shasta City. Here we picked up some essentials and rentals at the 5th Season outdoors store and checked into our hotel. We bellyed-up to the Billygoat's Tavern where we won a free pint of New Belgium 1554 beer for answering 3 questions correctly:
1. On what street does Peter Griffin live?
2. What did the US purchase for 7.2 million dollars in 17xx. (can't remember)
3. What is the strongest bone in the human body?
Thanks to J. Mize, Lex and Mom for helping us out. We owe you one! Tim had "Possibly the best burger ever" with garlic fries and I had the "Tree-hugger" a yummy veggie burger with walnuts mixed in served with sprouts and cheese. So yummmmmmmmmmmmm.
Then we walked all around town- like most transient mountain communities, there are some weird people here and there are lots of new age book stores and tarot card readings and aura picture takings and dirtbag kids playing flutes on the street. People ride bikes, if you've lived here over a month, you know almost everyone, and most of the money comes from tourists- like us. Very organic, very existential, which I think is fun, but kinda sad. Many people in the area believe that Shasta is a mystical place (like Sedona) where powers and crystals bring healing or destruction if you are not in tune, or at least honor them. There is a strong crowd that even believes that the mountain is home to an alien race who return in the lenticular clouds that encase the mountain to refuel their ships with magma from the volcano (yes, Shasta is a volcano- we learned this when Tim took me to the Natural History Museum on our "use no gas" date) Later, we even squeezed in a 5 mile hike up Black Butte, just to help acclimate and get our muscles warmed up. Unfortunately, with all the fires in the area, the visibility is very low, though the sun looks awesome through all the smoke.
We went back to our hotel and packed for the next day- our attempt on the Shasta summit. I will post on our climb later, and add pictures, but for now let's just say we are back at Cold Creek Inn and definitely exhausted...
Love, Lauren

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Do YOU have a Pulse?

I found something that all of us who journal might add to our wishlist:
LiveScribe's Pulse Smart Pen.
I journal in the traditional pen and paper sense, but often I would like to safeguard those writings, and the most sensible way would be on a computer or online. 
Well what do you know? They make a pen that will record lectures as you write and then convert your written notes into a pdf file. Pretty awesome huh? The only thing I worry about is the pen itself. I am extremely picky about my pens. I like them very fine. My favorite pen is Office Depot's Foray brand ballpoint click pen with a 0.7 mm point in black or blue. I know, ridiculous me huh? Anyways, check it out =)
Love, Lauren

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Two Weeks & Happy Birthday Mom

I have been tracking with Weight Watchers (WW) for two weeks now, and believe it, or not, I have lost 5.2lbs. I have also run 20+ miles a week for three weeks. That makes a total of 7 weeks running. It's been tough, running with the puppies is difficult, and I still don't think my body is taking to the 5:40-6:00am run times I've been keeping, but I know it's what I must do in order to get the runs done. Even this morning, Sima laid out by the pool and wouldn't look at me. When I said, "Sima, let's go for a run", she still ignored me. I had to drag her most of the run. Now that is a sad day when a slow runner like me is having to slow down for her dog! I think, tomorrow, I will just take Roscoe- in order to give Sima-girl a break. 

Birthday Girl:

Today is my Mom's birthday. She is my best friend and the most lovely woman I know. She cares deeply and compassionately for others. She is a godly woman who is prayerful and loving. I can't thank God enough for her in my life. She truly offers grace in my life in so many ways. To celebrate her birthday, we went with my Aunt Sally and Katie Doo-wah to Original Pancake House for breakfast (I had pumpkin pancakes-yum!). After that, the girls had their toes done. ( I had recently gone with Kim & Lori). After that, we ran some errands at the mall. My family (minus Alex, who is in Panama) took Mom to Guadalajara and then for dessert at Golden Spoon (I'm slowly getting my family hooked!). Tomorrow we celebrate with more family doing the ubiquitous bbq and swim at my 'rents house. 
Happy Birthday Mom, and many happy returns!
Love, Lauren